These mental health tips will make your commute less strenuous

MOST OF US used to living two very distinct lives. There was Work You and Home You. We became the one who served us the best when we arrived, although we complained about the trip. But if you were one of the 70 percent of Americans working from home in April 2020, or even part of the 51 percent at the start of this year, you might actually miss your commute or at least miss out on the benefits for you. sanity of your commute that you may not even have recognized before.

A commute can be a calming ritual that reduces anxiety and helps you be more productive or relaxed, according to researchers at Harvard, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina and University of Zurich. . Just thinking about upcoming tasks can lead to a more positive day, says Jon Jachimowicz, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Harvard Business School. And there are plenty of ways to hack the trip itself for more fun. “Focus on what you get from your commute,” says Susan Handy, Ph.D., director of the National Center for Sustainable Transportation at UC Davis. “If you listen to a podcast that you love, it doesn’t sound like a waste of time. Here’s how four men recently shifted gears in their travels to feel more fulfilled.

Running to reload
Jeff Rasmussen, 41, biologist, Seattle, WA

Jeff Rasmussen runs to work.


MY WIFE, my two children and I live three and a half miles from my workplace. When my kids weren’t in school, my wife and I would trade to take care of them. Often times I didn’t have time to train, so I started running to work four days a week. Almost immediately my mood started to improve. It takes about half an hour to drive through Capitol Hill to the densely forested Interlaken Park, teeming with birch, maple, redwood and elm trees. Having a time when my mind and body are in a state of fluidity has been a source of replenishment. I arrive at work in a sweat, but with a clear mind. I go home full of energy. I eat better. I sleep better.

Enjoy time alone
Dan Burnett, 36, director of a financial services company, Atlanta, GA

smiling man
Dan Burnett is a driving time pro.


I USED dreading my trip to Atlanta. The traffic is horrible. What can last 20 minutes is normally 45 minutes at peak times. I saw sitting in traffic like an obstacle. Then the pandemic hit and I started working from home.

Now I go back to the office four times a week and look forward to those 45 minutes each way. It’s my 100 percent time. I remember all the things I missed. If I want to blow up Joey Bada $, I can. I also reconnect with friends. I’m a guy and I’m not just going to pick up the phone to chat. But when I’m sitting in traffic, it’s easier for me to call my mom or catch up with a friend that I haven’t seen in a long time.

Pedal to play
Harry Hill, 51, federal employee, Falls Church, Virginia

BEFORE pandemic, I would cycle to the metro station – about a mile away – and take it. Now we come back more regularly and I do the whole trip here. It’s just five and a half miles.

I am primarily a mountain biker, but for my commute to work I ride a cross-country bike. That way I can play a bit – jump off sidewalks, ride on grass. I’m not thrilled to be returning to the office, but happy to have the chance to ride some more. I always get that look from some white runners, like “What are you doing here?” [Hill is Black.] Especially riding in my work clothes. They don’t know that I have four bikes at home and that I can circle them. It’s just this one is the most fun for the ride.

Relax, read and reset
Tommy Lutz, 38, director of engineering, South Oyster Bay, NY

I USED to live in New Jersey and ride a folding bike 12 miles to work in Manhattan. Sometimes I would even sail in a folding canoe I had built and cycle the rest of the way to work. The trip made the day stand out.

After Covid closed the office, my wife, son and I decided to move to a small town on Long Island, on the shore. I go back to the office three days a week and take the train. Its good. A train ride can be a kind of meditation or reading books. I try to find little moments to breathe, observe and relax. I surround myself with nature in my “real” life, and this makes my commute just a commute.
—Interviews by Joshua David Stein

No more maintenance masters early in the morning

Chances are, you’ve found new ways to optimize your first few hours during the pandemic. How some guys plan to continue this momentum:

“Instead of moving, I started running every morning before work. I lost 30 pounds. Now that I’m back at the office, I continue my morning errands. Tim Anderson, Norwalk, Connecticut

“I started making pancakes for my daughter for breakfast. It did me good to make her happy. Now I do a batch on Sunday night and heat it up every day [so they’re] Fresh. ”Christopher Beardsley, Blue Bell, Pennsylvania

man with his daughter
Christopher Beardsley with his daughter.


“Write in my journal: I found that I had better clarity to think about the night before in the morning, to help me reflect on the accomplishments or challenges that I have overcome. »Bill George, Raleigh, North Carolina

How to meditate anywhere. Even in traffic.

RETURNING TO working in person can seem exciting, overwhelming, boring, who knows. Personally, whenever I experience sensory overload – and I live in New York City, so this happens a lot – I do this very simple one-word meditation: and. You don’t have to sit cross-legged, close your eyes, relax, none of that. Be right where you are, with your eyes open, in the midst of the stress, the overwhelming, the noise and the madness, and feel your chest rise and fall in one breath. Realize that these two things are happening: both insanity and the simple feeling of being in this body, breathing, right now. You are here; the snow. Things are buzzing and the mind is awake and aware. There may be a moment of stillness even in the midst of a large number of movements. This jostling and this stillness. And you can do it 100 times a day if you want. Small moments, many times, is the path to reason. —Jay Michaelson, Ph.D., mindfulness professor on the Ten Percent Happier app

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